ELLENSBURG — It took Jeff Askey three bulls to get one score, but when it was all said and done, the Texas bull rider emerged from the chutes Monday afternoon as the bull riding winner at the Ellensburg Rodeo.
Askey was awarded two re-rides, for a total of three bulls in about 10 minutes. His first bull fouled him, pushing him into the chute door upon exit. His second bull fell at the five-second mark.
But his third bull, Flying 5’s Whirlie Bird, propelled the cowboy to 88 points and the two-round average win with 174 on two, one point better than Trey Benton III.
The payday ($6,961) is a blessing for Askey, who was 15th in the world last week — the top 15 in each event at the end of this month make the National Finals Rodeo in December — as the Texas bull rider took some time off in August to heal up from some nagging injuries.
“I had to go home a couple of weeks ago, took just a short time off. I was banged up; most guys are, it’s not making an excuse,” he said. “Mine was bad enough I had to go home for a few days, regroup and let it heal. It’s one of them deals, you sit at home and watch them standings kind of creep away from you, and these guys all ride so good, it don’t take long for them to pass you.”
On the flip side was bareback rider Tim O’Connell, who scored an 88 on Calgary Stampede’s Zulu Warrior for the go-round victory, jumping from third to first on his way to the average win.
“I felt like I got the timing picked up right away. She stayed hooked the entire time, and it just made for a great ride and a great score,” O’Connell said of the horse.
The three-time defending world bareback champ earned $8,207 on the weekend.
While that was a substantial payday, the biggest check went to California’s Destri Devenport. The barrel racer won all three rounds on the week, easily taking the average crown as well. Her 17.10-, 17.24- and 17.33-second times for the 51.67 aggregate netted her $10,823.
“I’ve been talking about it all year how much I love this rodeo. It’s always held a special place in my heart,” she said, “and now to be able to do this is incredible.”
It was a solid week for Rhen Richard as well. Not only did he pick up $1,578 in the team roping with Dustin Searcy, but he also earned go-round money in each of the three rounds of tie-down roping to win the event with a 26.4-second clip on three runs. His $9,921 were the most earnings for two-event cowboys as the Utah man won the Ellensburg All-Around title in addition to the tie-down buckle.
Team ropers Tate Kirchenschlager and Buddy Hawkins II were the ones to beat throughout the week. The duo won the first round ($3,300) with a 4.4-second steer, then stayed on top of the average with a 10.9 for much of the weekend. Coming in third high call on Monday, the team roped a five-second calf for the go-round win (there were six no-times) and average crown.
They earned $9,417 on the week.
“We’ve had a rough summer,” Kirchenschlager admitted. “I haven’t done real good this summer. It’s good to get something like this.”
Ellensburg’s Minor brothers — Brady and Riley — teamed up for $2,729 in team roping earnings, winning cash in the short round and average.
Like Kirchenschlager, CoBurn Bradshaw has had a rough year. The four-time NFR qualifier won’t make his fifth straight trip to Las Vegas in December as he’s nowhere near the top 15 and instead barely in the top 30 in the world standings. But that doesn’t mean the saddle bronc rider is finished for the year. Especially not when he draws one of the best horses in the PRCA.
Bradshaw danced with Flying 5’s Spring Planting for 90 points on Monday afternoon. It won the short round and pushed him from fifth to first in the average.
“That’s the third time I’ve had her. I won Puyallup on her three years ago and then I had her again in Molalla (Ore.), but me and my saddle win over her. This might have been the best time of all three,” he said.
The Utah cowboy earned $6,151 on the weekend.
Tanner Milan earned less than that ($5,325) in steer wrestling, but the paycheck pushed the Alberta cowboy from 19th in the world to just inside the top 15. Not bad for an Ellensburg average winner who has always seemed to earn money here.
“I’ve had some pretty good luck up here over the years. It’s one of my favorite rodeos in the Northwest,” he said of Ellensburg. “It don’t get much better than this. The crowd’s always amped up, it amps you up. Just a great rodeo.”
Ellensburg paid out nearly $370,000 on the week, a record for the rodeo.